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Why do similar looking watches vary so much in price?

Posted on August 20 2015

Sometimes watches can look similar, but one is of superior construction (steel case vs chrome or brass etc) and some expensive brands may have a large promotional content. Your JWNZ member can usually advise on the best value for money watch.

CASE MATERIALS

The most common are:

  • Chrome plated – used for economic reasons on less expensive watches.
  • Gold plated – electroplated a few thousandths of a millimetre thick of pure gold over a base material or steel.
  • Plastic – very popular for both sports and coloured fashion watches providing a light weight, durable, low cost alternative to metal cases.
  • Stainless steel – a practical and durable material. When shaped into a water resistant case it provides maximum protection for the movement so that the watch achieves maximum longevity.
  • Titanium is an alternative material, being very light, strong and completely non-allergenic. Check either the back of the case or the documents accompanying the watch for disclosure of metallic content.

 

TYPE OF MOVEMENT, ACCURACY AND RELIABILITY

Regardless of the materials used in any watch, accuracy and reliability are the two most important elements to bear in mind when choosing a watch.

WHAT IS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MECHANICAL AND QUARTZ WATCHES?

Accuracy. The accuracy of mechanical watches is measured in so many seconds per day, but that of quartz watches is measured in so many seconds per month or per year. Quartz watches use quartz as the source of oscillation, instead of a mechanical balance wheel. The accurate signal generated is converted into a mechanical revolution by a step motor to turn the hands.

CAN EXTREME TEMPERATURES UPSET ACCURACY?

Heat and cold can affect the precision of both mechanical and quartz watches. Oscillation of the quartz oscillator varies according to temperature and this does affect the accuracy of the quartz watch very slightly. But this change is very small compared to the effect of temperature on mechanical watches where the consistency of the lubricant influences accuracy.

WHAT ELSE DETERMINES ACCURACY?

Consistency is the key with mechanical watches. Accurate time telling can be enhanced by winding the watch at a certain time every day, wearing the watch for a certain period every day and the way a watch is left lying when it is not on the wrist. Quartz watches are pretty trouble free – temperature extremes are the only variable here.

WHAT IS THE LIFE OF A QUARTZ WATCH BATTERY?

Watches are designed to use either silver oxide or lithium batteries. A silver oxide battery will last two-five years. Lithium batteries have a life of two-seven years depending on the use of the watch functions, for example, the light and alarm which use a much larger current than that which activates the watch itself.

CAN I WEAR MY WATCH WHILE PLAYING SPORT?

Modern mechanical watches are equipped with anti-shock devices that protect vulnerable parts, however, a really hard knock can cause harm. Quartz and Digital Watches are usually designed to be shock resistent, but care should be taken to avoid dropping or striking the watch on hard surfaces.

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